Submerged optimism in the South China Sea: Inquirer columnist, Asia News & Top Stories

MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – On the morning it was announced that the President had lifted the moratorium on oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea, the shares of PXP Energy went up nearly 50 per cent. Forum Energy, a PXP subsidiary, has a pending project in Recto Bank. The suspension of oil exploration was imposed in 2014 and formalised in March 2015, because, as Forum Energy stated at the time, “the Philippine Department of Energy has granted a force majeure on Service Contract 72 (SC 72) because…

China has the world′s largest navy — what now for the US? | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW

When the US destroyer John S. McCain sailed near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea two weeks ago, it was quickly met and tracked by ships and planes from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The spokesperson for the PLA’s Southern Theater Command, Colonel Zhang Nandong, said the McCain’s presence was “a military provocation” that “seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security interests, and gravely jeopardized peace and stability in the South China Sea.” China claims the small archipelago as the Xisha Islands, as well as sovereignty over most of the South…

Japan PM pushes closer SE Asia ties | Crookwell Gazette

Japan’s new prime minister has pledged to help Southeast Asian nations boost their maritime security capabilities as he pushed his country’s vision for greater international cooperation to counter China’s influence in the region. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, speaking in the Indonesian capital on Wednesday, also took a thinly veiled dig at China’s activities in the disputed South China Sea. Beijing has built and militarised manmade islands in the sea and is pressing its claim to virtually all of its key fisheries and waterways. A number of Southeast Asian nations dispute…

Japan PM pushes closer SE Asia ties | Guardian News

Japan’s new prime minister has pledged to help Southeast Asian nations boost their maritime security capabilities as he pushed his country’s vision for greater international cooperation to counter China’s influence in the region. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, speaking in the Indonesian capital on Wednesday, also took a thinly veiled dig at China’s activities in the disputed South China Sea. Beijing has built and militarised manmade islands in the sea and is pressing its claim to virtually all of its key fisheries and waterways. A number of Southeast Asian nations dispute…

Why US Arms Control Envoy Made a Beeline for Vietnam on Brief Asia Trip | Voice of America

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Washington’s point person on arms control visited Vietnam, a Communist war rival five decades ago, for meetings about perceived threats from China because Vietnamese officials hold positions in key international bodies and align ever more closely with the West, experts say.    U.S. presidential arms control envoy Marshall Billingslea met Vietnamese officials Thursday to discuss Chinese offshore expansion, including fears of a growing nuclear arsenal, he told reporters. The envoy had visited traditional U.S. allies Japan and South Korea on the same trip.    “We know that the United States…

Cambodia confirms US-funded defence facility has been razed, SE Asia News & Top Stories

PHNOM PENH • Cambodia has razed a United States-funded defence facility on its southern coast, the deputy prime minister confirmed yesterday, the latest move in the ongoing controversial expansion of a strategically crucial naval base being developed with Chinese aid. The Wall Street Journal reported last year on a secret draft deal allowing China to dock warships at the Ream naval base near the kingdom’s coastal city of Sihanoukville. But Cambodia – awash in recent years with Chinese investments – has strenuously denied the report, although Premier Hun Sen has…

China is doubling down on its territorial claims and that’s causing conflict across Asia

Since taking power in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has helped cement China’s position as a global superpower — and pushed forward an aggressive foreign policy, making bolder moves in several key flashpoints across Asia. From the South China Sea to the Himalayan Sino-Indian border, and even in one of its own cities, China has doubled down on its claims of territory, and taken a harder line in response to perceived challenges. And as those disputes escalated this year with renewed and rising tensions, Xi has bulked up the military…

In a US-China war, whose side is South-East Asia on? Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia ponder the unthinkable

HONG KONG, Sept 19 (SCMP): Across South-East Asia, scenario planning exercises by analysts and policymakers preparing for the unthinkable – a military clash between the world’s two largest economies in their backyard – has taken on added significance in recent weeks. Tensions between the US and China, already fraught over trade, technology and the South China Sea, deepened as Beijing protested against Washington’s ties to Taipei and conducted military activities close to the self-ruled island last week. The question “What will happen if a shooting war erupts between China and…

Anti-China coalition: US wants to put a bridle on China in Southeast Asia? – Anti-China coalition: US wants to put a bridle on China in Southeast Asia?

Last week, during a videoconference between the US and ASEAN, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the countries of Southeast Asia to reconsider their dealings with state-owned companies from China, which infringe on their interests in the South China Sea. Of the ten participating countries, representatives of the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam expressed solidarity with Pompeo, and in the media, the statement of the head of American diplomacy was taken as a call to form an anti-Chinese coalition. Another question is how realistic and effective such a step…